Three million people suffered from blindness in Nigeria the Head of Department of Ophthalmology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Dr. Affiong Ibanga, said on Tuesday.
Ibanga said this when she led members of the department on a courtesy visit to the state Commissioner for Social Welfare and Community Development, Mrs. Inyang Endeley, in Calabar.
She said that nearly 25,000 people were suffering from the disability in the state.
She explained that between 8,000 and 10,000 people suffered one form of blindness in each of the three senatorial districts of the state.
She also said that the UCTH, through the Department of Ophthalmology, was carrying out rehabilitation training for blind persons.
According to her, some of the rehabilitation processes include treatment in some cases, mobility, orientation and vocational skills’ training.
Ibanga said that the department viewed visual impairment as a form of disability, adding that there was the need for the visually-impaired to be fully-integrated into the society.
She called for collaboration between UCTH and the Ministry of Social Welfare for the establishment of centres across the state for a holistic training and rehabilitation of blind persons.
Responding, Endeley said that it was the responsibility of the ministry to alleviate the sufferings of all groups of vulnerable and underprivileged persons, including the blind.
She said the state government, through the ministry, was currently giving out subventions to some Non Government Organisations (NGOs) that cared for the blinds, including the Centre for the Visually-Challenged in Obudu.
"The ministry has also been sending some of the visually-challenged for training in vocational skills at the Nigerian Farm Craft for the Blind in Ikeja, Lagos."
She said the visit was very timely and important because it would provide the team with the opportunity to know what the ministry was doing concerning the visually-challenged in the state.